The thing about love

Face off

So, many of my friends and loved ones have paired off or are pairing off.

I’m happy for all of them. Unfortunately, not all of them are happy, and some want out.

In a case like this, what’s the best way to decide?

The conventional decision-making process utilises happiness to decide whether to stay or to go.

That’s not wrong, but the focus is – because it usually tends to be on: are you/am I happy with X?

I’ve come to realise – from both conversations and experience (recent and otherwise) – that this question needs to be reframed so that we address the more pertinent issue at hand – that of added value.

Because the thing about love is that it isn’t merely about value i.e. happiness with X; the thing about love is that it’s about added value i.e. how happy X makes us feel about ourselves.

Assuming ceteris paribus – i.e. we’ve cleaned up our act and sown all the wild oats we need to sow, we’ve let go of any issues or people that need to be let go of, etc. – the real question we should be asking ourselves is:

Does X make me more awesome than I already am?

I’ve seen it in the friends and loved ones who are happy, and I’ve felt it for myself too: a good partner is someone who explicitly supports you in becoming better than you already are.

And rightfully so – if being with someone constrains you; curtails your development as a human being; turns you into a shadow of your awesome self, then is that person really good for you?

It’s applicable to not just love, but at work and in friendships and family relationships too.

For as hard as it may be, all of us will need to cut the strings to relationships that are toxic or stunting at various points of time in our lives.

In making those decisions, we shouldn’t let past happiness or promises of future bliss cloud our vision.

What we should be doing, really, is focusing on the fundamental issue of how much X will be able to help us grow.

And if that growth is going to be minimal, negligible – or even negative – then I’d say you know the answer for what you need to do to be happy.

On the occasion of my sister’s birthday

Chair Chair and me, circa 1985
Chair Chair and me, circa 1985

I think this picture best epitomises the relationship between my sister and me for the last two decades (or so) of our lives: she’s always been, like, “LAWEEE!”, and I’ve always been, like, “OK, shure, whatever: love and all that jazz – now leave me to my own devices (which, you may notice – coincidentally – always involves riding a wheeled machine)!”

So to my eldest sister on her 24th birthday (which makes me 21 – and hence, forever young): thank you for being the bestest Chair Chair in the whole wide world.

Thank you for loving me, scolding me (because I don’t listen to orders from anyone but you), sticking up for me, taking shit from our parents so I had it relatively easy, counselling me, listening to me when I just needed someone to listen, being my publicist and editor – I’ll stop here because the bottom-line is that you’re really fucking awesome and I don’t know what I’d do without you, or if I’d be the phatty I am today if you hadn’t been around to whip me into shape (round, that is… haha).

I’m so happy for you (and somewhat envious, though the grass is always greener for green-eyed monsters) because you’re in one of the best places of your life that you’ve ever been in, and I’m very certain you’ll be in equally good places for the rest of your pigletty, sio bak, char siew life.

Keep truffling, and then some, for as we’ve known for all our lives, if you ever want to “LAWEEE!” me, LAWEEE me for a bit, but then leave me to my own devices, because you know I’ll return from where I am to join you where you are one day.

In summary:


Her World: Ladies, Do the Cheque Dance!

Ladies, Do the Cheque Dance!

My column in this month’s issue of Her World is out!

Ladies, Do the Cheque Dance!
Should men pay on the first date? Should women offer to pay their share? LAREMY LEE offers a suggestion to this age-old conundrum.

I started dating again after ending a long-term relationship last year. After five months out of the game, I quickly found I had to relearn many of its rules. The first – who pays on the first date?

On hindsight, I should’ve asked around first. Unfortunately, I’m prone to adopting a ‘just do, don’t think so much’ mentality, which often leaves me in situations where I have to learn from experience.

First Date #01: Dinner with M.
The conversation flowed smoothly; M and I had quite a bit in common in terms of career decisions and personal interests.

Going well, I thought. Definitely want to see her again.

When the bill arrived, I was all set to pay. But M threw a spanner in the works, saying, “Hey, I don’t have cash – let me pay by card.”

Before my brain could process what was happening, my mouth blurted out, “Er, OK?” M gave me a squinty, sideways glance and primly placed her piece of plastic in the bill folder.

Five seconds later, it hit me like a Ferrari running a red light at Rochor Road: Oh my gosh! I wasn’t supposed to let her pay!

To read the rest of the article, get a copy of the May 2013 issue of Her World from newsstands today!